Perspectives on Pesticide Project (Role Play) (25 percent)
This assignment addresses Course Outcomes 1-3:
Goals of this assignment include
Atrazine is one of the most commonly used pesticides in the world—more than 75,000 pounds in 2003 in the United States alone. It is heavily used on commodity corn and soybeans, and is credited by some with increasing yields significantly and saving $2 billion in potential losses to weed-related damage. Yet Atrazine is banned in the European Union because it is a persistent contaminant in groundwater. Aquatic biologists also report strong evidence that it is an endocrine disruptor responsible for declines in some amphibian populations.
Should Atrazine use continue to be allowed under current regulations? Or should it be banned, regulated more (or less), or replaced with alternative methods? This project asks you to take on the perspective of a major player in this ongoing debate.
There are two components to this assignment. First, each of you will need to research Atrazine use and its effects on human health, wildlife, and ecosystems. You will need to choose a position to defend in the class debate and focus your search on resources that will help you defend that position (whether or not you actually agree with that viewpoint). Each of you will need to post a well-developed report of at least five paragraphs, presenting scientific, economic, and other evidence to support your position on Atrazine use.
Second, each of you will need to take an active, evidence-based part in the class discussion about Atrazine and pesticide use and regulation. In the discussion, you will need to continue playing the role of your character, using his or her viewpoint to address the arguments of your classmates.
You are free to choose any significant role you prefer in the discussion. More than one person may take the same perspective (e.g., that of a corn farmer), but it is recommended that you develop a unique role for yourself. Think creatively and specifically—for example, instead of just taking the role of "corn farmer," perhaps you could be a corn farmer in the Prairie Pothole area of North Dakota near vital wetlands, or an economically struggling corn farmer in Germany, where Atrazine is banned. Here are some suggestions of possible roles:
Grading (possible total: 25%)
Part 1: Role Play Research and Report (15%)
Conduct research into the pesticide Atrazine, using the Internet, books, scientific journals, personal interviews, or other sources. Choose a viewpoint, and write a five-paragraph (or longer) report from that individual's perspective on why Atrazine should or should not be used, any changes that person might recommend in use and regulation, and other Atrazine-related issues of interest to that person. Post your report in the "Role Play about Atrazine" class discussion by 11:59 p.m. on the due date in order to receive full credit. Note: The title of your main post in the discussions should clarify your chosen role, e.g., “Amphibian biologist who studies risks of atrazine.”
At least four APA style references to your resources are required for this assignment.
Important: You must post your Role Play assignment in the discussion by mid-Week 4 (Thursday, 11:59 pm).
Part 2: Role Play Discussion (10%)
Stay in character when making comments in the "Role Play about Atrazine" discussion thread. You are expected to make substantive comments on at least three postings by your classmates, using information you gathered in your research to support or refute (politely) the arguments of other characters in the discussion. To receive full credit, you need to contribute significantly to the discussion with your posts. Simply saying that your character agrees or disagrees will not earn points for this assignment. Your first two postings can earn up to 60 points, and the third up to 40 points, based on the criteria established for discussion comment evaluation as described in the Course Syllabus. Citations are not required in the discussion comments, but they may sometimes be desirable. All comments are due by Sunday, 11:59 pm, end of Week 4.
Note: There will be no credit for late participation in the Role Play discussion. All posts must be made by 11:59 pm ET Sunday, Week 4.